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Iraq's prime minster meets with Muqtada al-Sadr

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The undated photo shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (L) shaking hands with cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose political bloc took the third place in the May parliamentary election, has met with cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose party won the election.

Abadi and Sadr met in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf on Saturday, according to Abadi’s office.

It was the first meeting between the pair since Sadr and head of the country’s Badr Organization Hadi al-Amiri, who won second place in the elections, announced a political alliance between their parties.

Sadr's Sairoon bloc won 54 out of 329 seats in the Iraqi parliament. The Fatah (Conquest) alliance, led by Badr Organization Secretary General Hadi al-Ameri, and Abadi's Nasr (Victory) coalition finished second and third with 47 and 42 seats, respectively.

On Thursday, Iraq's top court upheld a law mandating a nationwide manual recount of all ballots from last month's parliamentary elections.

The verdict from the Supreme Federal Court confirmed the recount process, which was opposed by some parties who made significant gains in the election.

The ruling came after the Iraqi parliament mandated the recount of votes in the elections, in which a number of political parties claimed fraud.

The parliament had also cancelled some results such as overseas and displaced votes by amending the election law this month.

The announcement by the parliament came a few days after Abadi ordered the creation of a high-powered commission to look into alleged irregularities in the parliamentary elections. 

On June 14, Abadi invited Iraq's political groups to meet after the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday and agree on how to move forward in establishing a new parliament and government.

The Iraqi premier says that he is opposed any rerun of the May 12 parliamentary election, and warned that those who try to disrupt the political process would be punished.

The next prime minster will face the huge task of rebuilding a country shattered by the war against Daesh terrorists and the 2003 US invasion.

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